Govt ensuring airlines follow highest safety standards: Prabhu

Mumbai | Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday that the government is ensuring that all domestic carriers are in “conformity” with the highest safety standards, and the aviation regulator has been directed to carry out their safety audits on a regular basis.

Prabhu’s assertion came on a day when reports of a Pratt & Whitney engine of an IndiGo A320 neo plane stopping mid-air surfaced. “As far as we are concerned, we are ensuring that all Indian carrier must conform to the highest safety standards. I have directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to conduct safety audit of not only all the airlines but also of other organisations on a regular basis,” Prabhu said at a media briefing here about the 25th edition of the CII Partnership Summit, to be held in the city from January 13.

An IndiGo Airbus A320neo plane suffered a mid-air engine failure with a “loud bang” on January 3, forcing the aviation ministry to take a serious note of the incident.

Prabhu said that two leading global aviation organisations – Federation Aviation Administration of the USA and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) — have certified that India’s safety apparatus has improved its performance, adding, “the domestic air passenger demand is growing at 20 per cent each month and we are seeing an increased number of passengers (every month).”

He said the number of airports in country has gone up to 101 from 67 five years ago. “We have a target of having another 100 airports with a USD 100 billion investment,” he added.

Responding to a question on whether the government was considering intervening by way of support to the domestic airlines which are in the red due to high costs and the lack of funds, Prabhu said in a deregulated sector like airlines it is the responsibility of the company to manage its affairs.

India has recorded highest foreign direct investment, more than China, in this year, which is a landmark, he said, adding that the government is eyeing USD 100 billion FDI in the next two years. “And to achieve this, we are targeting specific sectors as well as companies,” he added.

Over 1,000 delegates from 40 countries are expected to participate in the two-day mega business event, which is being hosted for the first time in the state in association with the Ministry of Commerce and the Maharashtra Government. The theme for this year’s summit is ‘New India: Rising to Global Occasions’.

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